Dec 3, 2012

A sure sign Christmas is around the corner

...Your mailbox gets inundated with catalogues. Catalogues are a big thing here - once or twice every week, catalogues from appliance stores, chemists, big retailers, hardware giants, get stuffed in your mailbox. But as December approaches, they come in such quantities, I weep for the trees.

I enjoy shopping as much as the next woman, I love seeing the beautifully packaged gift items and I love buying stuff for other people. But I mourn for how Christmas has been hijacked by retailers and service providers.

On one catalogue, I saw this tagline that urged shoppers to "invest in the spirit of Christmas" by buying an expensive candle holder. How callous, I thought.

Here is the definition of invest:
"Expend money or devote time and effort with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result"
How do you "invest" in the spirit of Christmas when the spirit of Christmas is free? Freely received, and freely to be given.
The blatant commercial theme has increased over the years. Take the old Christmas movies - they had more of a charm to them, a theme of family, sentiment and sacrifice. We recently watched Arthur Christmas - it's an entertaining movie but I wondered about the message getting through to kids.
The moral of the movie is this : that the apex of Christmas is waking up with wonder and joy on Christmas morning and getting the gift that you (this is important) want; that you must go to the ends of the world to get a gift for a child, because a child who does not get a gift on that one morning a year, will come to the conclusion that he/she is not loved.
I get that Christmas has long become more than a religious celebration, but is to many, a seasonal celebration. But look into any culture for traditional reasons for celebrations and they have always been about bringing people together, for thanksgiving, for the celebration of the triumph of good, for marking sacrifices made.
Even as retailers try to hit their year-end sales targets, I hope they will keep the theme in mind. One retailer's ad I love is John Lewis's 2011 Christmas ad, titled "The Long Wait", one of the best 'retail' Christmas ads ever. If you haven't seen it, enjoy...

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